In May 2018, the Government announced a set of budget measures to combat the illicit tobacco trade, including the establishment of a new Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) and crackdown on illicit tobacco as part of the ‘Black Economy Package – combatting illicit tobacco’.
On 1 July 2018, the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) was established to protect Commonwealth revenue by proactively targeting, disrupting and dismantling serious actors and organised crime syndicates that deal in illicit tobacco.
This ABF-led taskforce draws on the expertise and advanced capabilities of the ABF and Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The ITTF has a full array of powers to effectively investigate, prosecute and dismantle international organised crime groups that are profiting from the illicit tobacco trade.
The establishment of the taskforce is one element of the Government’s three-pronged tobacco strategy, which includes new policy measures that the Government will introduce in 2019 to combat the illicit tobacco trade and protect the integrity of the tobacco excise system. This also includes the introduction of permits for all tobacco importations and changes to the point at which duty is payable.